Gérard Latortue, the Prime Minister of Haiti’s transitional government, told the Organization of American States (OAS) Permanent Council yesterday that a major task of his government is preparing to hold “free, fair, open and democratic elections.”
Citing Article 23 of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, he expressed the hope that the OAS, and its Special Mission in Haiti, would assist by providing “advisory services or assistance for strengthening and developing their electoral institutions and processes, including sending preliminary missions for that purpose.”
Prime Minister Latortue also pledged to do all that is humanly possibly to help Haitians learn to live together once again. “My government is doing everything it can to ensure all sectors of society are engaged in the democratic process,” he asserted.
Latortue welcomed the UN Security Resolution 1542 emphasis on a role for the OAS and CARICOM in promoting economic and social development in Haiti. That emphasis, he noted, “fits perfectly with my government’s perspective on the importance of regional and sub-regional cooperation.”
In his welcoming remarks, the Permanent Council’s Chairman, Ambassador Miguel Ruiz-Cabañas of Mexico, underscored the Council’s “unanimous” sentiments-despite concerns-in favor of helping Haiti, a founding OAS member, at this particularly difficult juncture in its history.
OAS Assistant Secretary General Luigi Einaudi pointed to the importance of all parties having the freedom to organize and compete in elections. He stated, “To help solve the political challenges arising out of the May 2000 elections, the OAS exhorted the Government of Haiti, continuously, to spare no effort to guarantee the effective participation of all the country’s political currents. We repeat that exhortation today.”